Thursday, June 21, 2012

Investmentssss: Here goes nothing!

Not dead yet. In fact, much more alive today than a month ago.

Just dropping by though, since it's 12:16 AM and my shift starts at 8-sharp; I just wanted to get this one news out there. :)

We're (Mike and I) have long since tried to get our minds wrapped around investments. We've both done some readings from different resources both online and offline to at least have some grasp about the subject. I've always wanted to invest, I wanted to see my money grow exponentially over time, and I KNOW that investing is the only way to go, but the only thing that's just preventing me from doing so is knowing where I'm going to turn to to start it.

A couple of months ago I was debating over getting mutual fund investments OR dipping my hands into stock market investments. During the course of my self-learning, I know now that both are well and good, and if you have any knowledge about the difference of the two, you're already above the cut of the average knowledge of Filipinos about personal finance.

I thought I was decided enough to just settle for mutual funds via SunLife and Metrobank Investments.. These two institutions offer a very safe initial investment of about P5,000 to open and start the account, and a minimal P1,000 top-up in the duration of your account. I was already good with this, less hassle, but more vague. I admit that I settled on this decision because I was not brave enough to even think about really getting into the Philippine Stock Market. It's a crazy world over there. And because Mike was brave and crazy enough to push SunLife and Metrobank over, I have now jumped over the edge! I am now processing my application for BPI Trade.

These are exciting times, and even more so when our daily visits to The Philippine Stock Exchange, INC. and we try to read the charts and profiles of the different companies we'd love to invest in.

Related video you may want to look into! :)

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Money Questions! 5 for Friday by J. Money

Long time no love! It's great to be around here again! I have loads to update and not all of them are bad news, unfortunately though, not all are good news either ;( But I'd like to start things with a fun-tastic post!

I've been an avid fan of J. Money of Budgets are Sexy (RSS subscriber like a ninja, I always await for his posts on my Google Reader because he's bringing sexy budget back!) for quite some time now, and I've always loved his tone of voice and his very enthusiastic approach to handling his personal finances. He is one of the reasons why I'm enthusiastic about my finances, too :)

So he just posted My Curiosity With Your Money Continues [5 For Friday] and I smiled despite being swamped with work right now. I am going to try my hand at this:

Here are today’s 5 for Friday questions… made up totally from my head, without thinking of my own answers first so I can be as fresh as you are when answering these bad boys… sometimes I even stump myself! ;)
  1. What was the last thing you wasted money on?
  2. What was the last thing you got a great DEAL on?
  3. How much money is in your pocket/purse right now?
  4. Would you skip work for the rest of the day if I gave you $100?
  5. Did you buy Facebook stock? Are you going to buy any Facebook stock?
  6. **BONUS** Barack Obama walks into your room and tells you you’ve got 1 hour to do whatever you want with him – how do you spend that time?

So lets have a go at it. I'm going to be very candid here.

1. What was the last thing you wasted money on?

I wasted money on earrings. Useless, ugly earrings. It cost just a bit more than PHP 1,000 (USD $23) and I am not even an earrings kind of girl (well, I can wear earrings, but I'm the simple stud earrings kind, not a swirly sparkly drop earrings girl) To add insult to injury, the earrings were made only of rhinestones and Indian gold, which I am pretty sure that I could get in other stores for just under PHP 300 (USD $7)

I could've avoided wasting money if only I didn't go to a boutique in the mall and tried to inspect a very nice bracelet. If only the pair of earrings that were haphazardly placed BESIDE the bracelet didn't fall onto the floor and have a rhinestone pop out!!!!!! Sigh.

I went and paid for it even if I didn't even go as far as to touch the earrings which fell down because if I won't an unlucky salesguy would shoulder the cost of the accident. It wasn't a pleasant experience, but I already vowed never to go to that nasty store again with their nasty and overbearing supervisor who had no ounce of logical understanding and sense of customer service. In the end, I gave the earrings to my mom.

2. What was the last thing you got a great DEAL on?

I think I got a great deal on my little painting desk. An ordinary study desk made from corkboard which was sold for about P1,900 (USD $44) I got a good discount off it since the mall held a 1st-of-the-Month-Sale and there was 20% discount on furniture.

I saw a study table that I liked, which was compact and sturdy. I wanted to have a "painting table" to support my re-emerging love for watercolors. It's nice to have an area where I can just relax and paint when I can find the time. It's pretty nifty too.

Since making my room, I've only had a few furniture inside it, and I longed to have another table aside from the computer table so I saved up a bit over the past weeks. Thank goodness Mike was on the hunt for a nice business desk and a new bed foam, so I was able to sniff out some good deals, too! From PHP 1,900 I got it for PHP1,500 :)

3. How much money is in your pocket/purse right now?

Right now? A little less than PHP 10,000 ($232)  and I dearly wish I can say that ALL OF THAT IS MY MONEY! Haha! Majority of that money is Mike's and from two of my co-workers. I have Mike's rent and his insurance money (Yes, I am the keeper of some of his finances.)

Some money is from two of my co-workers since they just paid me the money they swiped for, we all bought new headsets! It's so exciting and thrilling! Mike bought an Audio-Technica ATHM40FS Precision Studio Headphones, I bought AKG K-44MKII Headphones and two co-workers bought a JVC Xtreme-Xplosivs Earphones!

We got a HUGE HUGE deal on these last month, since the headphones alone are about 40% cheaper when bought from than in local stores! This is my "promotion" gift for myself. And also I need new headphones because my speakers at home died on me. Well, where was I, oh yeah, I have about PHP 800 on my pocket for my own spending ;___;

4. Would you skip work for the rest of the day if I gave you $100?

No, because if I skip work, I would lose out on the PHP 1,200 (USD $28) monthly incentive my company gives if an employee perfects their attendance for the month, an additional PHP 3,600 (USD $83) if the employee has 6 months of perfect attendance, PLUS! an additional PHP 7,000 (USD $163) for a year's worth of perfect attendance... I am already qualified for the 6-month incentive, so yearly is the final one! :D

So I would refuse the $100 as it is no match for perfecting my attendance and getting PHP 22,600 (USD $525) LOL :)))

5. Did you buy Facebook stock? Are you going to buy any Facebook stock?

No, I haven't and I can't and even if I could, I wouldn't. I don't have a personal Facebook, I only keep a dummy one to talk with my videography team and some of my bestest friends. BUT! Mike and I were seriously talking into venturing in stocks and trading this year as soon as Mike completes his emergency savings fund. We are going to buy stocks!

Well THAT'S it! I'm not going to answer the bonus one because I wouldn't know what food to serve the US President Obama when he comes here! So much press in my little house and all those police and cars outside our little street! I doubt Obama likes the rice cakes I love so much. But I have tea, he may like that. But I only have tea bags, I bet he likes loose leaf :(

Thanks so much for reading!
It feels really great to be here again.

Monday, February 06, 2012

A Room Of One's Own

I'm not a brooding Virginia Woolf but I have heeded her quote,
"Women, then, have not had a dog's chance of writing poetry. That is why I have laid so much stress on money and a room of one's own."
So I commissioned some carpenters and masons to build me one!

Tis me. Holding a cupful of Tofu with sugar syrup.

 What started as a solid wall of pure cement, hollowblocks and long strip of metal has now transformed...

Viola!!! In under a month, I have a little room now!

BGM: Angelic trumpets of victory!

It's the smallest room in the world. But no matter how small, if it's your own little space, you will always have your heart set on it, right? I love my little sky blue room. I've named it "Bonus Stage"! Give me a bit more time to save for decors I will certainly give that name some credit.

For now, I am living on Minimalist style, with very little to no decors on the walls or around the room (which I surprisingly like, it's a dream for neat freaks like me, I admit) and just a few furniture like a closet, a small shelf, my wooden bed and a computer table!

Here's a picture tour of my room! With no extra cost! He he he!

They match well...
I hauled my old closet from my old room that I used to share with a niece... Then I got this little table at a whopping sale. From P1,060.00 to P500.00! More than 50% discount so I can't ask for anything more. Yeah! But I do wish I bought two but I was afraid the extra one wouldn't fit in my room anymore.

And on my shelves I have:

Kawaii! > u <
A plastic organizer shelf to house my skincare items, my small documents, and my jewelries, but I don't have real jewelry, only fancy ones, but I still keep them and care for them because they are all I have! And we have a cute Rilakkuma mirror that Mike gave me > u < it's really cute, so I put a ribbon on his ear, too...

On top of my organizer I have:

Some toy stuff that I love, almost all of them were given my Mike. Yojimbo from Final Fantasy Creatures Series (My dog's name is also Yojimbo!), a little nendoroid, and another Rilakkuma soft toy. The little tan cinnamoroll, which my friend Deena gave last year is also there. And that red thing behind it is a cherry tomato. I put it there for good luck. I don't know if tomatoes give luck, but I feel like they can!

Then on another shelf level I have my unread/to be re-read books!

And finally... Here is my little bed and table and my desktop PC!

When I wake up I just roll around and turn the PC on...
Pretty quaint...

I feel so settled and so at ease when I come home. I've often thought how precious privacy is... Now I get to have it FOR ALL ETERNITY! *Insert evil laugh*

But honestly, even after dishing out my entire "TRAVEL FUND" to fund this project, I can really say that this is definitely lasting, and gives me something to look forward to, something to clean (!) and something to take care of.

I love my room.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Financing My 2012: New Year, New Decisions


First and foremost I would like to greet everyone who passed by here a very happy and prosperous 2012! This year is very exciting, just like every start of the year, there's so much in store for ALL of us and I hope we do our best and meet any challenge with a wiseass grin on our faces! :DD

Well on to the New Year update:
I've been long harping about having built a fund by budgeting and saving over the last year that was in preparation for my travel to Japan. You can see from the link above that I put away about 22% of whatever take home pay I get.

I've always been so adamant, so excited, so driven to save because I love to travel. Not just travel, but TRAVEL TO JAPAN. There is something magical for me about that country. Did you know that I studied the writing language since Sixth Grade just to be able to read Japanese comics? Haha!

I also studied formally at Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku for 5 months and took the JLPT N5 last December! You see, there has been so much preparation for me NOT to go there.

But the New Year left me thinking for myself. I grew pensive while I was alone in my nieces' room that I shared with them reading a book. I looked at the walls, ceiling and felt the hard foam at my back. I thought to myself that this year I would be 26 years old come September.

It struck me that I'm not THAT young anymore. And that at this age, I would at least stop sleeping on floors and stop sharing a room with my nieces, right? :( If not have a place of my own, at the very least I would have an area, no matter how small, to call my own...

In any house I lived in, except that short stint at I've always shared an area or a bed. I didn't have privacy. If I needed privacy, I go to the bathroom to be alone. But you can't sit in the bathroom for long until someone raps on the door for their turn to use it. Reading books is hard when kids are talking and fighting and trying to one up each other left and right. Getting stuff done on my computer is hard, especially when my nieces ask what time do they get to play. Sigh. My stuff is also haywire. I have my wardrobe cabinet in the other room, I sleep in the room fronting it, my personal stuff is in the other room all the way from the kitchen and my bookshelf is in my nephew's room :( You can't imagine how difficult that is doing my daily things going to and from rooms just for me to get things done.

That's why I want this!

All I want is a small, 7 wide room that's enough to stash a small bed, two tables, a computer, and a wardrobe cabinet :( It will be pretty tight, but for me that's already paradise.

I have talked with my sister about building it just adjacent to one of the outer rooms and she agreed! She asked me if I wanted to pursue this and I was adamant. She told me I could use the money for a house downpayment and I said I do not have the right amount of resources in the next few years to fund that much. I told her it would also help with the appraisal of our house if ever it would come to that point, and that maybe someday if I get married and have a place of my own I won't be living there anymore, one of my nieces can always take over my little room for herself.

But I think I'm going to be single for a long time :( so I guess this is the best option for me.

This is why right now, I am very sorry for having to let go of my dreams for travel. I think that a room is more lasting physically, and it will provide me the emotional comfort of finally having something all to myself. :D I've already talked with some home renovation guys and they can build my room in a short amount of time hopefully.

It's bittersweet for me to write "My Room" instead of "My Travel Fund" in my budget. I have to let go of that dream of seeing Sakura trees and eating oden and ramen on a cold Hiroshima fall night; but maybe I can dream about that in the room I'm about to start building.


Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Bonuses and Hitting Goals


I have good news that I want to share. It's nothing really major but something that made me happy this time of the year. I got my Christmas bonus! For most of you this is just normal, but for me I am really psyched about it! It's funny and ironic how it pays to work for a capitalistic business.

So aside from my bi-monthly salary last December 10, I got a sizeable 13th month pay from our company. I am really happy about it because I have just about depleted my Cushion Fund (The fund that cushions my Safety Fund so I won't have to tap from that 'final financial frontier' as I call it.) because of sudden requests from my mom and dad.

Where did most of my finances go?

The roof at my parent's house was leaking so bad and the galvanized steel sheets and the wooden railings need to be replaced fast; so I shelled out of course, because my parents really don't have the money to cover the whole cost of the repairs. I am more than happy to give this to them because shelter is their basic protection. I can't have my parents living under bad house conditions.

You see the wheelchair my mom is sitting on? Mike and I shelled out for it using our pooled funds from our part-time writing gig and a portion of my Christmas bonus.

So between that and the leaking roof, I didn't put away the whole lot of my money. But I am still happy to be able to help. Money is important for me, because it is the tool that enables me to help the most important people that matter in this life.

What did I do with the rest of the cash?

I saved it of course! And due to this, I hit my Financial Goal for this year!

* About P50,000 in a brand-new, spanking Time Deposit.
* Aside from my Travel Funds that are in another account.
* PLUS! a new P5,000 Cushion Fund that I deposited in a new BPI account (ATM only) that I am going to slowly grow again the same way I grew my previous one.
* Some money put away for Christmas SHOPPING!!!!!!

I am so happy! These makes me want to work even harder.

Even though the Christmas heavy spending is so easy to get lost in, I have a good system and a good partner in crime during the Holiday spree, so I'm good to go. Will update about it a few days!

See you then,

Friday, October 28, 2011

Financial Security: Am I Going the Right Way?

My winding and challenging road toward financial freedom makes me feel like I'm crawling in a pit of Tar. Sometimes I console myself saying that, I have a lot of years to go but at the same time after a couple of years working, I scoff at myself for having built so little.
They say it's baby steps and I may just be impatient. I have a little now that I am able top put away but it's so little that more often than not I feel broke.

So where am I now?

Work and salary
I love my work. I come early everyday because I love sitting at my desk, turning on my desktop computer, hauling out my work laptop to turn it on too, and then logging in to check my emails and tasks for the day. I look forward to my boss arriving and my co-workers (including my boyfriend haha!) settling at their stations.

My pay is good. It's not extraordinary but our department pays highest compared to some other departments. I like my company too because they give out monthly incentives almost on time, perfect attendance bonus which I enjoy getting every month, and performance-based quarterly incentives that I get almost everytime. I recently passed an exam that could very much help with my promotion, it was very technical, mostly about my stock knowledge about networking, wireless devices, connectivity technology and such. I passed that so I am hoping that I get the promotion someday, it will certainly boost my take home pay!

Love Life
For a girl, your partner makes or break the progress you are making in life. Either you shoulder them like a burden, give you stresses, or they make you into someone better and boost your dreams. I think its important to find the guy that matches youin every way and that your dreams and his dreams should not echo, but complement each other. I taught him how to budget and it's his first time to actually have a chunk of saved money put away safely in a bank. I love that we're both frugal and we make do with what we have.

After a year of dating, we are happy, everyday we talk constantly, laugh and plan a lot of plans. Like a lot. He's the one I can talk to about anything because he is the smartest guy I know.

Me and My Family
I stress over a lot of things when it comes to my family. I'm living with my sister's 4 children while she's working abroad. In our household, my other sister also lives with her small baby. My first sister worries me because even though she has worked outside the country, she has virtually no savings in the bank. Everything she worked for just goes to the household, from food to clothing, utilities to tuition which take up a huge chunk of her pay. I only pay for the water bill in return and oversee the studies of my nieces and nephews. I am mainly worried about what the future will hold for her who has that many kids and no savings. The same thing with my other sister who has no job and no income, relying on the small allowance our elder sister gives her. I worry about the little baby's milk and food, clothing and doctor's checkup.

Aside from that, my mom and dad are reaching the age where they feel aches and joint pain as well as all those disorders that plague the elders. My mom continues her sari-sari but no one is there for her when her leg and hips start aching so bad, it's only my dad who's 76 years old now and he can only do so much. I want them to rest and not have a worry but I can't provide that for them. I try to give them money but it's only really very little. I can't buy my mom her medicine since its just so expensive, so I give them food supplements to help strengthen their bodies at least. I feel like crying everytime I think of how little I can help.

Future Plans
I've finished building about half of my emergency fund which is a significant amount for me. I divided it into one liquid ATM account ("Cushion Fund") and two Time Deposit Certificates ("Emergency Fund" and "Safety Fund") at PBCom and Metrobank, the latter has just matured this month and I'm thinking of getting a higher interest TD for it at another bank. I am sticking with TDs now because I am ultra conservative and I want my money semi-liquid.

I plan also to pay off my college debts of about 12k next year.

Next year I will be all about investing. A bit of savings and a huge load of business investing. Mike and I are planning to start a business. No details for a while since we have a vague idea of what we are going to do. We're planning to involve his brother in this who has become my very good friend too. We're planning to reach 25k each by March 2012.

That's about the long roundup...
I really hope 2012 will become a better year. I love 2011 for everything that it brought. I need 2012 to work like a charm. I will work so much harder.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Back to School: Education is an Investment

Some months after March 25, 2007, the day I shyly but proudly walked up the stage to receive my University diploma (which turned out to be just rolled A4 paper lulz) I immediately thought of ways on how to find work so I can pursue my career and start earning for myself. But even then, I really wanted to go back to school.

After four years of working, I have now the chance to go back to school again. It's not a Masters or any prestigious post-graduate studies. I'm currently enrolled in Nihonggo I, under the Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku system. I've always loved learning the Japanese language and have been self-taught on Nihonggo since sixth grade. I was so glad for this opportunity to formally study the language. It was so fortunate that the 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM class schedule worked so well with my 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM work schedule and add the fact that the school is just across the street where I work! Something tells me the world has finally conspired to give this to me. Finally. Finally.

Me and My Classmates on 7/7/2011 - Tabanata Day!

Wishes on Bamboo branches, traditional symbols of Tabanata day

Added my wish on it too! I hope it comes true~

It's been over a month now, and we have four more months to go for this 5-month language class. I think going back to school is a great way to be able to take a break from the monotony of work, with plus points of being able to pursue hobbies and ambitions that have long been buried in resignation. Now I've re-ignited that desire! I really wanted to travel and visit Japan, and I think this is a great way for me to do it, so once I take a vacation, I would be able to fully immerse myself in the language and have a deeper understanding and appreciation of their culture.

For such a fantastic opportunity as going back to school and learning a new language, I am only paying P1,000 per month, after the registration fee of P1,000. That's about P6,000 in total for the 5-month language class, two hours a day, three times a week.  There are miscellaneous things that can add up like my required books which are:
Nihongo I and Nihongo II - P700.00 (P350 x 2) 
But I don't mind at all. These books are already a steal compared to a 500-peso or 1,000-peso book that I would not fully appreciate and use anyway. These books are very user-friendly and understandable. It's really made for a classroom setting.

I also had to adjust my allowance as well to be able to eat out (instead of eating at home) because once our classes ends at 7:30 or 7:40, I usually end up very hungry. I am trying to figure out something as a workaround for this though:
Dinner (Eat out) - P50.00
I will try and find alternative food, like bringing 2x Banana bread P15.00 which I love eating, to help stave my hunger until I get home.

I really like all the things I'm learning so far! I can finally say I've completely mastered the Hiragana and Katakana characters, and I have added new Japanese words and phrases too! I can now ask questions properly, understand the answer to the question, give directions, receive instructions and so many more.  In some ways, I felt like I invested in myself and my dreams, which gives me a very fulfilled feeling!